Airline or private jet pilot?
Have you ever considered which type of pilot you would like to be? In the aviation industry, there are two types of pilots among others, which are known as an airline pilot and commercial pilot. They both include flying commercially for reward, but they differ quite a bit regarding qualifications and more importantly experience. What would you like to be a regular commercial or a private jet airline pilot?
When you work at airline, you have your schedule – even though you are required to be flying on weekends or holidays, it still allows you to plan things. Usually, you have a certain schedule of your working days (with clear destinations and flying time) along with your days off.
Being a business jet pilot you also have a kind of schedule of your work days. However you will never know exactly which day you will be called on duty, what destination it will be, and how much time it will take. Even if your client will tell you that he will need the aircraft in a few days, those “few days” suddenly may turn into few hours or a week. No matter what, your responsibility is to be available to operate the aircraft. Even if that means just sitting and waiting, you must always stay sharp.
Working in the private jet aviation requires you to be highly flexible during your duty days. You have to expect ad hoc charter flight and last minute changes. The schedule itself is usually not as stable as the one of an airline.
In private aviation, the job is done by a team and everyone has the same goal: the safe transportation of the guests. The personal side of corporate flying makes the professional side more enjoyable. In business aviation, your co-workers are your teammates and even your guests know your name and shake your hand and greet you.
Commercial airlines don’t have that, you’re flying with someone new every single time. Gate agents want an on-time departure. Baggage handlers are there for a shift and move at their own, pre-determined pace. And besides all that, airline employees in general are very much a transient work group.
The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) requires you to have private pilot, commercial pilot or ATP certification as well as a rating for the specific aircraft you will fly in order to qualify as a private jet pilot.
In addition, you will have to achieve a multi-engine class rating and an instrument rating, as almost all jets have more than one engine and fly above 18,000 feet. To fly a jet above 25,000 feet, a high-altitude endorsement is required and operators may also request high-performance and complex aircraft endorsements as well.
However, if you would ask other pilots, they would admit, that working as business jet pilot requires more as the qualifications. Why? Let’s assume you are working as a pilot at a regular commercial airline. Most likely, you have your regular destinations, with same airports and same routes. What is the difference working in business aviation? Well, everything is different: every flight may be a new flight for you, with new destinations, new weather conditions and new airports, and basically – everyday is a new challenge.
More hours of preparation
Being a business jet pilot you will have more work before and after the flight compared to the regular commercial airline pilot. A private jet pilot is responsible for the aircraft that he operates. You must prepare it for the flight, inspect its technical condition, make all the calculations for the fuel, water, toilet needs, load client luggage and etc. For example, it may take around 1,5 hour of preparation before the flight and 1 hour after the flight while the entire flight duration was only 3 hours. All in all, it means that business jet pilots work more hours, although only part of them has a real value when talking about the logbook.
This blog is not meant to deter you from becoming a private jet pilot, just to make it clear that if you’re in it for the money or the lavish lifestyle, you’re in it for the wrong reason! If you truly enjoy flying, there’s not a better job in the world!
Careers at Privaira
Privaira is looking for people who are positive, passionate, like what they do and have a “consider it done” mentality.
We offer a competitive benefits package inclusing 401k w/matching, vision, dental and medical insurance. Privaira is ARG/US Platinum and IS-BAO stage II certified and Wyvern Registered. Privaira operates under a comprehensive SMS program and IAP program.
Interested in working for Privaira? Check out our career page here.